Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Working with Autism

Guest post from our MP

According to the statistics there are more than 350,000 working age adults with autism here in the UK. Research has found that, whilst many people with autism want to work, only 15% of adults with autism are in full time paid employment and 9% are in part time employment.

For some time I have been working on a project that aims to give support and assistance to autistic young people to get into a job and to retain that job. While there are some issues yet to be resolved I am hopeful that we will have a pilot project in place here in Ilford North Autumn/Winter 2012.

The Interface Parent Group, our local companies and the London Borough of Redbridge have all been very helpful and supportive. I have held a series of meetings with Ministers from various departments and they are giving their support and encouragement to this initiative.

Lee Scott.


  1. You've obviously been talking to the wrong Ministers.

    "Charities, teachers' leaders and campaigners yesterday condemned plans that could remove thousands of children from the special-needs register.

    Ministers have announced a series of reforms in the belief that too many children at schools in England have been wrongly labelled as having special educational needs (SEN)."

  2. This is a pilot scheme that is being run in Redbridge to help autistic young adults get in to employment.

    It has the support of the relevant Ministers.

  3. Sam, more than 15yrs ago, a senior SEN advisor (and former teacher) working in Redbridge told me that the number of claimants were getting out of hand, and were unbelievable.

    'Charities, teachers' leaders and campaigners' are far too free with their kneejerk reactions - and I write as the grandmother of a child with severe dyslexia.

  4. Judith, I am not knocking what your MP is doing. It sounds like a very good initiative and I wish him every success with it.
    But as a grandmother you must be of a certain age. An age when you were a child those with severe dyslexia, (like Susan Hampshire who was not diagnosed until she was 30 years old) or any of the conditions on the Autistic spectrum would not have been picked up and provided with the therapy and help they needed.
    The increase in numbers is simply a function of our increased knowledge and understanding of these conditions.
    The government’s approach to the problem (denial) is nothing short of scandalous.

  5. Hi Sam, I think what is scandalous is the refusal to see that help is being diverted from the truly needy because of the misuse of a substantial amount of funding.

    A lot of the increase in numbers is because of poor parenting, the funds that can be claimed by the schools, and because apparently statemented 'troublesome' children can be omitted from certain statistics, which assists getting a good rating.

    I am pleased that Ministers are looking at the way that my - and your - money is being spent, and to be frank I am deeply tired of hysterical over-reactions to any Government initiative that doesn't involve dishing out money like a drunken sailor.

    1. Can you tell me the name and home port of the drunken sailor who does this?

  6. Judith, I too am incensed by the misuse of a substantial amount of government funds - illegal wars, Trident, Nuclear subsidies, bail-outs for the rich and vanity projects like the NHS super computer and the Olympics, when there are far more pressing and urgent social problems that could be addressed.
    I am *not* pleased that Ministers are *not* looking at the way that my - and your - money is being wasted, but I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

  7. Sam, I'm certainly with you re crazy wars, NHS super-computers and the Olympics, but then I'd also add gross subsidies for windfarms and overseas aid, where we'd possibly part company again!

    1. What about the scandal exposed a few weeks back on television of huge sums paid by the European Commission to landowners for keeping their land unproductive? That has to be high remuneration for even less effort than being a Member of the London Assembly.

    2. Quote judith: "... gross subsidies for windfarms ..."

      Ah yes! Isn't it a good job the sun is shining!

      We're getting 196MW from wind at the moment - around 5% of metered capacity - out of a total demand of 39,350MW (39.35GW). Not to worry, though, imported coal is producing almost half the demand with around a third from gas and a fifth from non CO2 producing nuclear. See here for a snapshot or here for a live feed.

      While you're looking, it's worth noting that coal isn't all we're importing: five times as much power from France as we're getting from the windmills and nearly three times as much from the Netherlands ...

      Oh, isn't this green energy wonderful! Not a single coal fired station decommissioned as a result plus the (high) cost of keeping them on hot standby when the wind does blow - just in case ...

    3. Buried at the bottom of a BBC report ...

      Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at Exeter University, told BBC News: "This legislation is really sad - in more than 20 years of studying energy I have never known so many people so horrified.

      "Originally, four to five years ago, we looked to be heading for a sustainable energy policy but then the nuclear lobby came in and civil servants weren't able to resist. It's unbelievable that we will be tying ourselves in for maybe 40 years to a technology that will produce power at two to three times the wholesale cost.

      "With that kind of money we should be looking at new technologies, smart solutions. Other countries in Europe have recognised that - I'm not sure why we've failed."

      And Japanese Banks Extend Biggest-Ever Loan to Grow Nation's Wind Sector

  8. Can I remind contributors that this thread is supposed to be about Autism and employment.

    1. Ah yes! Thread drift ...

      So, should I apologise for my own contribution to this?

      Well, no, because, following an interesting and informative discussion on autism last night with my good friend Weggis, I can see what might be a very useful connection between autism and the solution to our energy problems.

      Why not put together a think-tank of people, with the correct skill sets, obviously, who are also autistic?

      Another problem solving group could address energy conservation in new and existing buildings. The latter currently seems focussed on loft and cavity wall insulation - but it doesn't matter if you completely fill the loft of my Edwardian house with the best insulation known to man, there simply aren't any wall cavities to fill ...

      The same principle could be applied to any number of problems that need to be resolved, so long as each group is formed from members of the autistic community.

      Why? Because, if my understanding is correct, they would concentrate on the assignments to the exclusion of political pressures or policy changes on political whims.

      This might make it a tad difficult for Lee Scott to convince this (or any other) government to go ahead with any such schemes ...